Plotting out a decent campaign can be difficult, especially for us older hands who are used to keeping everything about our created worlds safely tucked away in a few spiral-bound notebooks. Luckily, things have progressed quite a bit since those golden days, and the vast wonders of the interwebs can make life a lot easier for us Storytellers. Let’s look at a few online resources that could come in handy for planning and running a campaign.
1. Wolfram Alpha
Most of you are probably familiar with this little wonder. If not, then I really suggest you give Wolfram Alpha a try. It’s a search engine of sorts, though it displays various facts and bits scientific data about the queried subject as opposed to pulling up individual web pages. It offers a wealth of information with each search, providing great details for character backgrounds, helping with adjudication of a tricky situation, or providing bits of information for an exceptional Knowledge roll. It also handles conversions extremely well, distance, weight, volume and other such forms of data can be easily interchanged, which can save you a hell of a lot of time on certain tasks.
2. The Cartographer’s Guild
Pretty much the ultimate resource for mapping things, the Cartographer’s Guild is a conglomerate of map-makers meeting to share their work, discuss projects and make requests of others. You can commission a beautiful, custom map from of the many professionals on the forum, or just nick a pre-made one for you own use in a campaign. These folks really know their stuff, and pretty much any map-related question you could come up with can be answered here.
3. Corbis Images
Corbis is a site devoted to stock photography and illustration, and has a large commercial market for both editorial and creative purposes. It has fantastic search protocols, which makes it very easy to find whatever imagery you happen to be looking for. It is most often used in my group to find photos references for character portraits and the like, but you can use it to easily pull up images of ships, weapons, people, places and situations for a quick visual reference. Just browsing through different categories will offer plenty of fodder for NPCs and plot hooks alike.
Reddit is a content aggregation site with many, many users. In addition to siphoning off years of your life, it allows for the creation of smaller, niche-specific aggregators known as subreddits. Not only can these be used as quick-and-easy forums for your gaming group, but there are a variety of existing subreddits that are fantastic resources for gaming. The nice part about these subreddits is that the members in them are usually pretty cool folks who are more than happy to help out with questions or provide information you might not be able to find on your own. A few of the ones I use on a regular basis are the Map Porn, RPG, Savage Worlds, SpecArt, World Building, Vexillology and Ask Science, but you can find subreddits devoted to pretty much any topic you can think of… which also includes the horrible ones, so I’d advise a bit of caution when poking around the site at work.
You can use Wikia to create a custom Wiki page for your campaign. This is a great way to store notes, and keep your players current on events. This sort of thing is an absolute must before putting a campaign on a hiatus, and it’s also great for keeping the various threads of your plots and subplots organized. It also lets your party take some ownership of the campaign by editing existing pages and creating new ones based events within the game itself.
Making the page itself takes a little bit of work, but having all the public information in your game readily available in a single place is utterly invaluable.